White House unleashes on Fauci after criticism of Atlas and Trump’s pandemic response

The White House on Saturday unleashed on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, following his comments to the Washington Post that criticized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, including Dr. Scott Atlas, who the President has relied on for advice on handling the coronavirus.



Anthony S. Fauci wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump speak to reporters following a meeting of the coronavirus task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. The president today removed the independent chairman of a committee tasked with overseeing the roll out of the $2 trillion coronavirus bailout package. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 07: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump speak to reporters following a meeting of the coronavirus task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. The president today removed the independent chairman of a committee tasked with overseeing the roll out of the $2 trillion coronavirus bailout package. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President (Donald) Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement to CNN on Saturday evening.

Deere took issue with Fauci’s comments where the doctor seemingly praises Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. Fauci told the Post that the Democratic nominee’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” While Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country,” according to the Post.

“As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent— exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp,” Deere said.

Fauci, a leading member of the government’s coronavirus response, said the United States needed to make an “abrupt change” in public health practices and behaviors, according to the Post. He said the country could surpass 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day and predicted rising deaths in the coming weeks.

“Dr. Fauci knows that the risks today are dramatically lower than they were only a few months ago with mortality rates falling over 80%. The Trump Administration, through the work of the Task Force, continues to surge testing, PPE, personnel, and capacity to protect the vulnerable, help schools reopen, and respond to conditions on the ground,” Deere said.

In Friday’s interview with the Post, Fauci also criticized Atlas, a neuroradiologist and Trump’s hand-picked coronavirus adviser, for his lack of expertise.

“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Atlas responded to Fauci on Twitter, tweeting on Saturday night:

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Dr. Anthony Fauci unleashes on White House coronavirus approach days before election

As President Donald Trump fights his way through the final days of the presidential campaign denying the pandemic — by lashing out at doctors, disputing science and slashing the press for highlighting rising coronavirus case counts — the long-running rift between the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci burst into the open Saturday night.



Anthony S. Fauci wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: (L-R) U.S. President Donald Trump, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks as National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci looks on during a press conference about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is considering an $850 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout as the coronavirus spreads. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 17: (L-R) U.S. President Donald Trump, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks as National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci looks on during a press conference about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is considering an $850 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout as the coronavirus spreads. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

For months as Trump undercut his own medical experts, sidelined scientists and refused to take basic steps to control the virus while mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist held his tongue and took the President’s attacks in stride as he continued to plead with the American people to socially distance and wear masks.

But Fauci’s restraint appeared to have evaporated in a Washington Post interview that was published Saturday night, in which he called out the White House for allowing its strategy for fighting the virus to be shaped in part by a neuroradiologist with no training in the field of infectious disease and said he appreciated chief of staff Mark Meadows’ honesty when he admitted to CNN’s Jake Tapper during a recent interview that the administration has given up controlling the spread of the virus.

At a time when Trump is downplaying the rising cases in the vast majority of states, dangerously holding huge rallies with few masks and no social distancing, and lodging the false and outlandish claim that doctors are exaggerating the number of Covid deaths for profit, Fauci told the Post that the nation is “in for a whole lot of hurt.”

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place” as the country heads indoors in colder weather, Fauci told the newspaper in an interview late Friday — a day when the US set a global record for the most daily cases and the nation surpassed 229,000 deaths. “You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

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Fauci, who is widely trusted by the public after a lengthy career serving under six presidents from both parties, said Meadows was being candid in the interview last weekend where he told Tapper it was not possible to control the virus. Fauci has adopted the polar opposite strategy by repeatedly telling Americans that they can change the trajectory of the virus and save lives if they adhere to mask use, social distancing protocols and other safety precautions.

“I tip my hat to him for admitting the strategy,” Fauci told the Post of Meadows’

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